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How parents can reduce distracted driving among teens

All new teen drivers know that using their phones to text, talk, check social media or post photos or videos is dangerous. They need to keep their attention on their driving and their eyes on the road.

However, many of them use their phones while driving anyway. In fact, in one survey, over three-quarters of teens (78 percent) reported that they checked their phones at least once every hour. Some 72 percent said they felt that they had to immediately respond to texts and other messages and notifications, even when they're driving. Half admitted that they were addicted to their devices.

Ironically, it's often parents who are the ones texting and calling their teens while they're behind the wheel. Maybe they're checking in to see where they are. Perhaps they want them to stop at the grocery store before they come home. Whatever the reason, parents are too often the cause of teen distracted driving.

However, parents can be an important factor in preventing teen distracted driving. Following are just a few things you can do:

  • Ask your child to call you before leaving one destination or after arriving at another one so that you're not calling them while they're driving. They should do the same with friends or others whom they're meeting up with. Then do not call or text your teen.
  • Model safe driving behavior. Many teens have grown up seeing their parents talking on the phone or texting while they're driving. If that's you, now's a good time to stop. Acknowledge to your teen that you know you used to do it, but you realize now how dangerous it is.
  • Check on "do not disturb" settings for your teen's phone. Some newer phones have settings that can detect when the phone is in a moving vehicle. When set in this mode, calls, notifications and alerts are silenced.

No matter how conscientious teens are about not engaging in distracted driving, they can't control the actions of others behind the wheel. They may end up as passengers of a distracted driver or they may encounter another driver who's not paying attention.

If you or a loved one is injured in a car crash as the result of another driver's carelessness or recklessness, you should find out what your legal options are for holding that driver legally responsible and seeking the compensation you need and deserve.

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